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The University of Southampton

ENVS1005 Quantitative Methods

Module Overview

You will be introduced to a number of key statistical concepts and data presentation formats. Beginning with exposure to a variety of data types defining the nature and properties of data you are likely to encounter. Emphasis is placed on distinguishing between population parameters and sample statistics and exploring the nature of distributions. Aided via the introduction of a dedicated statistical software, including SPSS and R. You will become familiar with the concept of central tendency and the measurement of variation, and how these may be presented graphically. Emphasis is placed on information transfer to aid presentations, essays, reports and dissertation. In addition to computer technology, you will hone skills in the use of hand calculator for use in laboratory and the field applications. A significant portion of the unit is given to developing your understanding of a variety of common statistical procedures including establishing the presence and strength of a relationships and standard approaches for determining if significant differences exist between groups within a variety of experimental designs. Central to this is the concept of hypotheses testing.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • The need for both a multi-disciplinary and an interdisciplinary approach in advancing knowledge and understanding of Earth systems, drawing, as appropriate, from the natural and the social sciences
  • The processes which shape the natural world at different temporal and spatial scales and their influence on and by human activities
  • The terminology, nomenclature and classification systems used in environmental science
  • Methods of acquiring, interpreting and analysing environmental science information with a critical understanding of the appropriate contexts for their use
  • The contribution of environmental science to the development of knowledge of the world we live in
  • The applicability of environmental science to the world of work
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Recognising and using subject-specific theories, paradigms, concepts and principles
  • Analysing, synthesising and summarising information critically, including prior research
  • Collecting and integrating several lines of evidence to formulate and test hypotheses
  • Applying knowledge and understanding to complex and multidimensional problems in familiar and unfamiliar contexts
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Receiving and responding to a variety of information sources (e.g. textual, numerical, verbal, graphical)
  • Appreciating issues of sample selection, accuracy, precision and uncertainty during collection, recording and analysis of data in the field and laboratory
  • Preparing, processing, interpreting and presenting data, using appropriate qualitative and quantitative techniques and packages including geographic information systems
  • Solving numerical problems using computer and non-computer-based techniques
  • Developing the skills necessary for self-managed and lifelong learning (e.g. working independently, time management and organisation skills)
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Planning, conducting, and reporting on environmental investigations, including the use of secondary data
  • Collecting, recording and analysing data using appropriate techniques in the field and laboratory


Use of data management and statistical analysis software Excel, SPSS and R for descriptive and inferential statistics used in environmental science. Including: Defining Levels of Measurement; Consideration of the term 'Measurement of Central Tendency'; The nature of variation; Frequency distributions; Correlation; Tests of association; Hypothesis Testing; Non-parametric statistics.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The unit will be delivered by the Unit Co-ordinator via a combination of lecture and computer workshop. There will be two lecture sessions dealing with statistical theory early in the week, followed by a computer workshop when the theory will be tested in a series of applied computer exercises. Both the lecture and workshop sessions will have dedicated learning materials that will build into a valuable portfolio. Learning activities include: • Attendance at lecture and workshop sessions • Self-directed learning – it is expected that exercises presented at each workshop will be completed within the intervening week prior to commencing the following workshop. Tutorial support provided by the Unit Co-ordinator will be availed in the interim in order to maintain progress within the unit.

Practical classes and workshops24
Completion of assessment task25
Wider reading or practice17
Preparation for scheduled sessions25
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Comprehensive, stand alone, learning materials are provided at each lecture and workshop. The materials are designed to build into a valuable reference portfolio for use during the remainder of the degree programme.. 

Gray C.D. and Kinnear P.R. (2012). IBM SPSS Statistics 19 Made Simple. 





MethodPercentage contribution
Take-away exam 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Assessment 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules


To study this module, you will need to also study the following module(s):

ENVS1006Environmental Science: Research and Applications
ENVS1004Environmental Science: Concepts and Communication
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